Couples who both have ADHD

My husband was diagnosed with ADHD several years ago and has been on and off Ritalin, usually taking it only when he needs to focus on something important like a work deadline. It has taken its toll on our marriage and we separated 6 months ago after 26 years. I have been in therapy for the last 9 months dealing with my issues that have contributed to our problems and trying to reach a decision about staying or leaving the marriage. Recently my therapist suggested that I should be evaluated for ADHD myself. I was thoroughly surprised, but as I've done some reading, I think she's right. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks with a psychiatrist (actually, the same one who has seen my husband).

My question is, is anyone here in, or has in the past been in, a marriage or LTR in which both partners have ADHD? Were you able to work it out and save the marriage? What sort of issues have you found that are unique to the situation, as opposed to a relationship in which only one person has ADHD? I appreciate any comments any of you have to offer.

kharris4's picture

Maybe we are??

I would also love to hear the response to your question as well.  I'm in the reverse situation, that I am the ADHD person, but I often wonder if my husband is as well.  We have very different forms, but in common is that neither of us seems willing to approach new territory without some sort of external reason forcing us to.

For example, we both recognize the need for marital counseling. We've been married for 17 years, have recently been falling apart over and over again. I've threatened divorce numerous times, and both of us get to the conversation of "we need help, let's get counseling" but it's almost debilitating for us to actually do the work to find professional help.  It's almost comical in fact that we both want help, but neither can take the initiative to get it.  Our marriage is currently, eh...okay, but only because he cannot stomach the change of divorce (at least I think that's why) and I can't take the thought of our children having to split time between two homes. (Despite the fact that my parents were divorced)

Second, we both struggle significantly in the financial planning area. We've lived paycheck to paycheck for many years, unable to get away from instant rewards of buying something versus saving. We are just now becoming financially responsible for paying our bills on time, but are suffering bad debt issues, and cannot buy our own home b/c we messed our credit up so bad in the first years.

Third, the house is always messy, and both of us yell that we do the majority of the housework. It always comes to arguing about who is doing more.  (when in reality, we both wait forever to clean)  His answer is always to ask our daughter to do it, but I'm always sympathetic to the fact that she works really hard in school, then at a part time job, and gets home at 10pm. She's too tired to do them too.  

What IS interesting to me, wondering if my husband might be the "inattentive type ADD" is that I think ONLY that type of spouse, can take the emotional rollercoaster abuse from another ADHD spouse. I'm the type that gets easily angered, very emotional and constant frustration.  He, in turn, is just blase about everything.  He pretty much thinks if he ignores it, it will go away.  This has it's own set of complications though, b/c I constantly feel like he is in la la la land and I really want to talk and analyze it all, he just can't focus through those conversations with me.  LOL!


Clearly we are the "only ones"

Last night my husband seemed close to asking me for divorce.  And honestly, I've fantasized about just that thing.  I am a diagnosed ADhD (inattentive) mom to two kids with also with ADHD.  I've long suspected that my husband has it too, as his father was a "dreamer" and he's  classic absent-minded executive.  Really smart but absolutely needs a staff at work to keep him on time, remind him of meetings and track down whatever he's lost this week.  At home, I keep everything together, handling everything and ANYTHING.  This guy does NOTHING.  I finally pointed out to him all the lightbulbs near his bed and dresser that have been out for months--all the time he's complaining how "there's no light in here!"  I am the classic mom who keeps everything together for the family--except I'm under the stress of feeling overwhelmed.  WHen I complained a few years ago about feeling like a 50's housewife, he was shocked and still finds it hard to believe that I feel that way.  His psychiatrist (who he sees for anxiety and depression) thinks he's ADD as well. My husband doesn't want to try meds because he's already "taking a lot of anti-anxiety drugs".  I've tried pointing out that maybe by treating the ADHD, he wouldn't need the other ones.   Our 25th wedding anniversary is approaching and I could care less.  For the 20th, I did all the planning and surprised him with a dinner and night at a hotel (all while under deadline for a very stressful, high-stakes project a week later). 

Before we had kids, we could have muddled through this, but I think having kids really shows the strains that are under the surface.  I've done an amazing job, getting a teenager into a very good college despite her LD (and keeping her out of jail too!) and ensuring that her younger sister can cope with her LD by finding a specialized school and getting her treatment for depression and anxiety.  AND I've gotten myself into treatment too. But it makes me so angry that my husband just TAKES AND TAKES AND TAKES. 

So the answer to the above question is: no. It's not a good thing when both spouses have ADHD